Saturday, September 20, 2008

Senate Firewall

Shortly after Sarah Palin was given the VP slot on the Republican ticket, Paul NNTO suggested that this choice wasn't about the presidential campaign.  Palin didn't help the ticket much; if anything, in contrast to a candidate like Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine, Palin weakened the ticket with swing voters and Hillary Clinton supporters.  McCain seemed to realize this. He preferred, according to multiple news reports, the pro-choice, bipartisan alternatives of Joe Lieberman or Tom Ridge.

In the event,   his staff and the Republican leadership "persuaded" him to select a hard right Christianist, a creationist Pentacostal who, among other things, doesn't think that law and order includes paying for forensics kits for victims of rape and doesn't really know all that much about pretty much anything the federal government deals with.  Outside of earmarks, that is.

Paul's suggestion was that this was not about the presidency, but about the Senate--that Palin would drive turnout in states, especially in the Mountain West, where support for McCain was lukewarm, and Republican seats were in danger.  He and I discussed places like Colorado, Idaho, Oregon and Minnesota as states where Palin would help turn out the base down ticket.

Later on in that week, I was talking to Cliff Schecter, author of The Real McCain, and mentioned this idea.  As we chatted about it, he remarked that this did seem plausible.

Well, Markos put up a poll yesterday that supports this contention.  Idaho has moved dramatically against a great candidate, Larry Larocco in response to the Palin nomination. 

1 comment:

stuart_zechman said...

McCain had an enormous problem going into VP selection: an extremely weak base of support amongst the rightist political structure.

Remember how Dobson wouldn't vote for him?

Remember how Coulter said she'd vote for Hillary instead?

This is a calculated risk aimed squarely at the Presidency. They've made the decision that the loud approval of the rightist media is more important to their electoral chances than the centrist media.

They think that they've figured out what states they need to win, IMO.